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Excuse me Mr. OEM sir, more juice please

Every day I read about; optimizing the OS to improve battery, task managers to kill apps to save battery, new screen technologies to minimize battery drain, new processors, modified multitasking, radio improvements, new memory schemes, all in an effort to maximize the potential uptime for our phone batteries. So, it appears obvious that OEMs consider battery uptime to be an important issue, probably one of the top five on any hardware wish list. Why then do they continue to chose anemic batteries for our, “more powerful, larger screen, more things to do with” phones.

Granted, not everyone is a moderate/heavy user requiring more power, and thin is in, but that doesn’t mean that we all can’t have our cake and eat it too. I can go along with an OEM designing a device with a low capacity battery, that keeps the phone thin, light, and less expensive, and will usually get most light/moderate users through a full 16 hour day. But where does that leave the moderate and moderate/heavy users. Tethered to a power source most likely. If given the choice between; a.) plugging in whenever you get a chance, wearing down the life of your stock battery, or b.) enjoying lots of extra juice, requiring fewer charge cycles thus extending the life of the battery, at the cost of a couple millimeters and a few grams, most power users will choose Option b.

After my recent journey into the charlatan after-market battery world, it has become more obvious that most OEMs don’t actually use that may different battery sizes. For example, HTC Surround=HTC Inspire 4G=HTC Desire HD. Or, HTC Trophy=HTC Desire Z=T-Mobile G2=HTC Incredible S. And, HTC TouchPro/Tilt2=HTC Evo 4G. Pretty much if you you see different phones from the same OEM, and the stock battery is the same size rating, there is a good chance it is the same battery.

Rather than driving users to the disappointing “too good to be true” battery alternatives, why don’t OEMs add an extended battery (which requires a new battery door) to their catalog at the same time they introduce a new phone. Yes, it does cost some dollars to design the battery and battery door, but it’s a lot easier to design/manufacture both at the same time rather than doing it as an afterthought. Charging premiums, typically $59.95 for an extended battery and $19.95 for a replacement door, should more than cover the costs and burden of any speculative minimal inventory. Might even turn out to be more profitable than the phone itself. And adding an extended battery for a device six to nine months into its sellable life cycle is almost guaranteed to be a failure, and if that’s the plan don’t bother. Sure, there are alternatives; additional stock batteries (removing those battery doors do suck though), docking/charging cradles, portable USB chargers, and (I shudder at the thought) using your phone less. But nothing like having that extra power if and when you need it. Sort of the same problem some consumers are having when considering a new electric car. Keep those charging stations spaced close together please.

So, for those devices where your battery is accessible, are you happy with your battery capacity? Or would you jump at the thought of an OEM extended battery, typically 60-90% more capacity (2200-2400mAh), even though it will cost a few clams and add some bulk to your device? What say you.